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Lamb producers meet challenge of all-year-round production

But there have been warnings lambs for the Autumn market in Wales could be ready sooner than expected.

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Lamb producers meet challenge of all-year-round production #lovelambweek

British sheep farmers have ‘risen to the challenge’ of making lamb available all year round, with imports from New Zealand now less important for maintaining a consistent supply.

 

The Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA) has highlighted the good number of lambs now available throughout the year, with farmers adapting practices to fulfil demand at the live sales ring.

 

LAA chairman John Brereton said he had seen a ‘dramatic change’ in the supply of lambs during his career.

 

Changes

 

“We used to see very few lambs and old season lambs from January to April, whereas now numbers continue to be available most weeks,” he said.

 

“British farmers have risen to the challenge, with home-grown product available whenever needed.”

Farmers were also aware of demand, with early lamb still in demand during the Easter period and the opportunities around the Muslim festivals.

 

Mr Brereton said: "In the past, multiples have felt it necessary to import lamb, particularly from New Zealand, to ensure they had a continuous supply at all times.

 

“Changes to farm practices now ensure they have availability of British lamb all year round.”

And he added the live sales ring gave a competitive selling environment and advice on marketing lambs.


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It came as the industry headed into ‘Love Lamb Week’ starting tomorrow, September 1, a campaign to increase awareness of lamb meats’ seasonality, sustainability and nutrition.

 

Wales

 

However, Welsh farmers warned of a potential glut, with lambs for the autumn market potentially finishing earlier in September due to improved grass growth and additional feed over the summer.

 

But other factors could balance out the risk of a surge in numbers, which had the potential to cause headaches for processors later in the year.

 

John Richards, Hybu Cig Cymru industry development and relations manager, said given the difficult weather conditions during lambing and the lack of rain in the first half of summer, it was an ‘unusually difficult’ year to project supply patterns for the sheep industry.

 

“Some farmers will have decided to introduce supplementary feed, which could mean some lambs are finished sooner," said Mr Richards.

 

However he added this was varied across each area of Wales and the picture was ‘far from clear’.

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